This review has been a while coming but I’ve finally taking the opportunity to write up on Battlefield 1. I had the chance to play the beta before the full game came out so I did know what to expect with regards to some of the multiplayer. What I had completely underestimated though was just how good the single player campaign is.
DICE and EA have definitely taken the right approach in going back to the war to end all wars, World War 1. This very under-utilised war was a masterstroke and makes for some very personal encounters. The single player campaign is broken down into six stories, each covering a different part of the war, and usually covering a different type of plane, horse or vehicle. DICE have been very respectful to the World War that killed millions of soldiers and this is very obvious from the single player stories. The opening tutorial mission certainly sets a very respectful and sombre tone that you keep throughout the entire game. To say anything about these stories would spoil the incredible experience that awaits you but I can safely say this is the best Battlefield single player campaign ever. We Aussies even get treated to an excellent story set in Gallipoli with the ANZACs.
What the single player campaign definitely helps you with too is getting a grasp on the controls for the various vehicles and modes of transport. For those who haven’t played Battlefield before this is probably the best way to approach the game, play the single player stories first, then start dabbling in multiplayer. The graphics are simply incredible, whilst the sound is typically comprised of Battlefield greatness.
Multiplayer has the usual modes, like Conquest and Rush and the maps are definitely a cut above previous instalments. There are plenty of opportunities for close encounters, plus use your long range sniper rifles. All of the weapons are based on the real weapons used during the way, including several experimental weapons that were not used in mass production during World War 1.
The new multiplayer game mode is really great, and it is called Operations. This is effectively a larger campaign, similar in some ways to the 3 stage approach Star Wars: Battlefront has taken with some of the DLC. Effectively as an attacker you start by trying to capture points in a zone (there are 3 to 5 zones each map), so this is treated like a hybrid of Rush and Conquest. The difference here is that you Rush forward to try and take the three points in a zone and once you do, they can’t be taken back. It is up to the defenders to stop the push forward by the attackers. What makes this incredibly exciting and varied is that this is done over two or three maps. If the attackers get to the far end of the first map (through 3 to 5 zones) then the game loads the next map and it continues.
This is simply a fantastic mode, and certainly worth playing more than once. There are half a dozen specific operations for you to play and they all span across different maps. Team work is key here because you won’t be able to capture the control points in each zone without it. Obviously the maps are huge.
Battlefield 1 also returns one of the best parts of the Battlefield games; destructible environments. The large set pieces are still present, in the shape of huge armour trains, a giant zeppelin and a huge dreadnought. These provide support to the losing side, which does help, but generally not enough to change the outcome. However, the environments are much more destructible. You can see craters being formed by tank shells, mortars and anti tank grenades. Buildings can be completely destroyed and collapse. In one of the Conquest games I watched one poor enemy try and run from a tank and take cover in a building (concrete), only to find the large landship tank drive right through the said building and kill the occupant hiding in cover. I haven’t seen this level of destructibility since Bad Company 2, which is still the benchmark game for ever changing environments.
Those use to the fast paced modern Battlefield games will take some adjusting to the slightly slower pace of this game. Personally I prefer the game mechanics of this particular war over the more modern ones. In terms of playable vehicles you have trucks, jeeps, tanks, bi-planes, bombers and horses at your disposal. Tanks are much more of a threat in this game and require some precise anti-tank grenade throwing or using the anti-tank gun. Progression is via levelling up and getting war bonds, which will enable you to unlock by buying better guns and equipment. Battle-packs are now completely random and effectively have different skins for your weapons.
Battlefield 1 is a great package. The single player stories alone make it a worthy purchase. Throw in the excellent multiplayer across incredibly detailed terrain and you’ve got an absolute winner here. Highly recommended.